Deputy fire chief urges safety during power outages

Cory Hurley
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The Corner Brook Royal Newfoundland Constabulary has determined the cause of the fire that destroyed this home at 28 Veteran's Square to be accidental in nature. Police believe lit candles were a contributing factor.

CORNER BROOK — With all the power outages across the province in recent days, people have a lot on their minds.

Unfortunately, safety may not be at the top of the list.

For deputy Chief Bill Griffin of the Corner Brook Fire Department, that is particularly worrisome.

“If you didn’t have enough to worry about or to be concerned with while this is going on, we still can’t forget the safety aspect of it,” he said.

The Corner Brook Royal Newfoundland Constabulary concluded its investigation into a house fire at 28 Veteran’s Square Saturday evening. The cause was determined to be accidental, with candles lit during a power outage contributing to the blaze.

“We suggest people stay away from the candles and have flashlights or any kind of battery operated light,” Griffin said.  “Candles are tall, not very stable, and it doesn’t take much to knock them over.”

The deputy chief also said candles are dangerous around family pets and near flammable items.

“A candle is an open flame,” he said.

Because the home was unoccupied at the time, nobody was injured in Saturday’s fire, but a family is displaced and their pet cat died in the blaze. The house was damaged extensively, as flames engulfed the roof before they were eventually extinguished on an extremely cold night.

Griffin said it is not just candles that pose a threat during power outages.  With stories of people using barbecues and other household appliances for heat or help light fires and candles, Griffin shuddered at the possibilities. Compounding the fire hazard is the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, he said.   He added plugged-in appliances and electronics do pose a threat for fire because of the surge that accompanies the return of power.

The deputy chief said it is important for people to maintain a sense of safety when dealing with power outages, but he also said people should be prepared before an outage happens with flashlights and extra batteries on hand.

Organizations: Corner Brook Fire Department, Corner Brook Royal Newfoundland Constabulary

Geographic location: CORNER BROOK

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